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Calcium is a mineral that is mainly essential for your bones and teeth, but it also affects your heart, nerves and blood clotting systems. Adults older than 19 need about 1,000 mg of calcium every day, and should not take more than 2,000 mg per day.

Calcium is important because your bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves, and calcium is a vital part of that process. In addition to your teeth and bones, calcium is used in your blood, muscles and other tissue, but over 99 percent of the calcium you consume is used in your bones and teeth. It can be used for the treatment for and prevention of major diseases like osteoporosis, rickets, osteomalacia and even colon and rectal cancer. It’s even used to treat more minor ailments such as PMS, leg cramps during pregnancy and high blood pressure during pregnancy. As women age, our absorption rate of calcium tends to decline due to reduced estrogen levels, so it is important to incorporate calcium into your daily diet, whether through calcium-rich foods or calcium supplements. (via WebMD)

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Calcium-rich foods include milk or any dairy product, kale and broccoli. It can also be enriched in citrus juices, mineral water, canned fish with bones and processed soy products. If you can’t incorporate calcium through your food, it’s important to take it as a supplement. However, sometimes calcium supplements can interfere with certain medications, but that can usually be avoided by taking calcium at a different time than when you take your other medication.

>> Read more: The Vitamins We Need to Be Taking in Our 20s, plus in our 30s, in our 40s, and in our 50s and Beyond